Austria's major natural resources are mineral deposits, such as iron ore, lignite and magnesite. The country is the leading producer of magnesite, a natural ore identified as magnesium carbonate found in sedimentary and igneous rocks. Other natural resources of the country are salt, tungsten, timber, copper and zinc.
Another important resource in Austria is its forested land. About 47 percent of Austria is wooded, and the country is one of the largest exporters of sawn timber and lumber in the world. The wood industry is the largest employer in Austria, with exceptionally diverse sectors such as sawmill, furniture, construction, and timber and wood composite industries.
Aside from their economic importance, the forests in Austria protect thousands of settlement areas and facilities. A large part of the Austrian territory is susceptible to snow avalanches, and the forests naturally protect the habitable and infrastructure areas from natural hazards. Because of their protective functionality, the forests in Austria are maintained and protected at a national and regional level.
Austria has its own deposits of natural gas and oil, but its supply is not enough to meet the consumer and industrial needs. The mining industry is on the decline due to environmental constraints, high operating costs, low grades of ore and foreign competition.